In many ways, starting a business is a heck of a lot like having a baby.
A new business requires a lot of love, an incredible amount of patience and an ability to function without a lot of sleep! Without question, becoming a parent has intrinsic rewards – there’s nothing like your baby’s first smile or hearing your toddler giggle. But starting your own a business can be incredibly satisfying too, especially if it’s designed in a way to meet your unique needs.For all the moms out there who are considering starting a business, here are 7 tips that are sure to set you up for success:
1. Be Clear About Your Goals For The Business.
After you have your light bulb moment and come up with an amazing idea, it’s important to stop and think about your goals for the business. Do you want this business to make a lot of money? Do you want this business to provide you with creative autonomy? Do you want this business to afford flexibility, so you can balance child care and work? These are just a few examples of the many reasons people start their own business. And while it is totally okay to have several goals for your business, it’s also a good idea to know which are the most critical. In my experience working with thousands of women business owners, I’ve found that the most satisfied entrepreneurs are clear about what they want from their business and are able to be deliberate in creating a company with these goals in mind.
2. Talk To Everyone.
As soon as you have your business idea, start talking about it to everyone you know! Too often, people are afraid to share their idea because they fear someone might steal it. All of my experience has proven just the opposite. People don’t want to steal your idea but they do want to help you! Not only will talking to people help you flesh out your plan, it will also provide you with a remarkable amount of feedback. And as an added benefit, you will likely meet future colleagues and potential clients through the process.
3. Play To Your Strengths.
It’s very important to know what you are best at and what you enjoy doing the the most. Of course, at first you may have to run every aspect of the business but over time it is critical that you shift towards spending the majority of your time exercising your strengths. This is the best way to add the most value to your company and also be most satisfied personally. I have worked with a lot of owners who (unfortunately) gave up the work they loved most in order to manage less satisfying parts of the business. Over time, this really starts to wear on them. Be sure that you build a business where your role makes the biggest impact and is the most fun!
4. Fill In Gaps.
Once you are clear about what you do best, make a list of all the areas where you need support. While it’s important to understand all aspects of your business, it’s equally important to outsource areas of your business that gobble up your time and decrease your productivity. For some business owners, this might be the administrative aspects.. for others, it is tasks like bookkeeping. Great news! There are very skilled professionals out there that can help – but only if you know what kind of help you need and aren’t afraid to ask for it.
5. Learn To Say NO.
Here’s the good news: people really do want to help you and they will be delighted to share lots of their ideas with you. The even better news is that YOU get to decide which ideas to listen to! Trust your gut. It’s your business and you get to call the shots. It is always good to be open to new things, but you definitely don’t have to agree with every idea that comes your way. Saying NO often the best decision you can make.
6. Find Your People.
Starting your own business is an incredibly exhilarating process but it can also feel very lonely. Make it your job to get out there and meet other business owners! Find a community of peers, so that you can learn from one another, share resources and expand your network. It’s important to make sure you join a diverse range of groups, so consider looking for ones that are industry-related or that provide support for new businesses. It’s impossible to underestimate the value of support as a new business owner.
7. Start Small.
You have a BIG dream – let’s say you want to run a creative arts center for kids. You can already imagine how you would fill all four floors of a building and all the different classes you will offer. That’s awesome! But guess what, nothing happens overnight. Just like you can’t run before you can walk, we recommend that you take baby steps in building your business. This will help you iron out the idea and learn along the way. Perhaps you want to start by offering a class for kids and rent a space hourly. A gradual approach will help create a following of people that will be there with you on the opening day of the big dream!